Direct Debits are the quickest, most cost effective and lowest carbon method of paying your energy bills. So it’s no surprise it is how most Good Energy customers do so.
With the rising costs of energy, there is naturally an increased interest in how energy suppliers are managing Direct Debits. Here’s a straightforward explanation of our approach.
The first way we change Direct Debits is when our billing system automatically makes an adjustment. Our intelligent customer billing software reviews whether a customer’s Direct Debit is set at the right level at two points:
- 45 days after they have joined us.
- Whenever a statement is issued.
The aim is always to keep Direct Debit payments as level as possible to avoid significant increases or your account going into debt. Most customers use more energy over the winter than the summer, so the system takes this into account. It uses meter readings across the year to check whether your Direct Debit is at the right level to cover your usage over the full twelve months. If it is, your payment amount stays the same. If not, then your payment amount will be increased accordingly.
Sometimes we make changes to your Direct Debit manually, meaning a human being does it. This could happen when your tariff changes, or if your balance is showing lots of credit or debit and we contact you directly to suggest a change. But the same logic of estimating your seasonal energy use is used to ensure it is the right level reduce the risk of going into debt.
If your Direct Debit is going to change, we will send you an email or letter beforehand to explain what’s happening and why. This gives you an opportunity to plan, and query it with us if you need to. We always provide 10 working days’ notice before a new payment amount is taken.
If your account is in credit, any customer can ask for a refund at any time. Your account balance is always available on your statements and via your online account, so you can see how much credit or debit is on your account.
When processing a refund we consider a few things:
- We must have received an accurate meter reading within the last 14 days. This is to make sure That your credit balance is accurate.
- If the requested refund amount will put your account into debt, then it will be declined.
- We’ll recommend keeping credit in your account to support you to manage peaks in costs better (e.g.the winter period) but ultimately the credit is yours and will be fully refunded if requested.
If you pay by Direct Debit, we will also assess your target balance. This is the level of credit that needs to be maintained on your account to stop it going into debt whilst your energy use fluctuates over the year, as explained above. This will help us calculate the excess credit that we recommend should be refunded to you, or if this credit will be needed to cover your winter usage. If we do advise you to keep an amount of credit on your account this is a recommendation, and provided we have up to date meter reads we will still process a refund if you would prefer.
We’ll only ever make changes to your Direct Debit where necessary and appropriate.